Wednesday, November 30, 2005
In a battle between two unbeaten teams that probably deserve to be ranked, Western Kentucky took out Louisville.
Sophomore forward Crystal Kelly was dominant... again. She's averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds this year, and last night, she had 33 and 10. "Nobody can stop her. I'm sorry. Nobody can stop Crystal Kelly," said teammate Charlotte Marshall.
Columnist Jerry Brewer says there's no exaggerating Kelly's skill.
She is a fundamental phenomenon, with an Einstein-in-sneakers basketball IQ and an unselfish nature that makes helping old women cross the street seem played out.
And their already-thin roster has been hit by injuries. “This isn’t the most mature team Rene’s had," said ODU coach Wendy Larry, with understatement.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Candace Parker has proven to be worth the wait. She leads the unbeaten Lady Vols with 15.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Shanna Zolman (14.6 ppg.) continues to be a big threat from outside while sophomore guard Alexis Hornbuckle is putting up 11.4 points a game. With that kind of balance, it's no wonder the Lady Vols beat their first five opponents so badly, winning by an average of 27.8 points.Yesterday's AP poll brought a couple of surprises. Texas Tech, which has four losses including two to unranked teams, somehow managed to stay in the top 25.
Monday, November 28, 2005
The Raiders had their chances. Down two points in the final seconds, LaToya Davis went to the line to shoot two. She missed the first. She then missed the second intentionally, and miraculously, Erin Grant got a back-door rebound and was fouled while shooting.
Grant, an excellent free throw shooter, went to the line for two. But she also missed the first, ending Tech's hope.
"This loss definitely hurts a lot because I had a chance to step up at the end and missed two big free throws," said Davis. "I think Erin feels the same way. It's real disappointing when seniors like us can't step up and finish the job."
Wiggins, Smith, and Newlin all played well for the Cardinal, especially in the second half. Coach TV, however, wasn't thrilled with the performance overall. "I don't think it was an "A' game for either team," she said. "It was kind of one of those heavyweight battles, it was a little bit ugly but a great early-season game."
The Raiders are off to their worst start in 27 years. Fans fret.
“We’ve had four of those now,” coach Muffet McGraw said. “I’d kind of like to have one where we feel good and look good from start to finish.”
USC shot terribly. "If we could have shot around 36 percent, who knows?" USC coach Marl Trakh said. "You have to execute the last few minutes of the game. You have to make big shots, and Notre Dame did that."
Having lost to both ND and Long Beach State in the last week, the Trojans will likely fall out of the rankings.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Annoyed with the Gophs' lackluster win on Friday, coach Borton sounded a brighter note yesterday: "That was a war tonight, and I'm excited about the poise we displayed down the stretch... Virginia played very hard."
Gopher frosh guard Emily Fox, already a difference-maker, stayed on the floor towards the end of the hard-fought game, in place of Shannon Schonrock-- a major rotation experiment for coach Borton. Broback was tournament MVP.
The Zags kept the game close early but faded late. State coach McCallie: "Anytime you hold a team to 45 points, that's good."
Purdue took out South Carolina despite trailing early. New Boiler Cherelle George, a junior-college transfer, had ten steals.
After themselves beating South Carolina on Thursday, the Texas Longhorns overcame George Washington to win their division of the Bahamas tournament. Tied with five minutes left, the game came down to free throws: Texas made 11 of 12 late ones, the Colonials just one of four.
Cal coach Joanne Boyle on her young team: "I don't think the kids were at all intimidated going out there...We got rushed. We had three kids foul out. I was applauding their effort in being aggressive, but at the same time, it's hard to finish a team when three of your best players foul out."
The two teams traded one-possession leads throughout the second half; Tennessee led by just one point with 5 seconds left, but stole an inbounds pass and then made free throws for a 5-point win.
Tennessee's Alexis Hornbuckle: "I don't think we knew what we were getting into... They had us on our heels most of the second half."
Maryland post Crystal Langhorne: "We match up really well against [the Lady Vols]. We'd love to see them again."
Maryland dominated the rebound stats, the third time in three games the Lady Vols
Friday, November 25, 2005
So I got cranky and penned a short letter to email@example.com. Feel free to send them your own if you have a moment.
"College basketball is played by women as well as by men, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the Times' website. Not a single article on the main college basketball page has to do with the women's game--fans of women's basketball are limited to a link to scores and schedules in the sidebar, with apparently no analysis or feature coverage of the games. Why does the Times do such a lousy job giving space to women's sports? It's not only irresponsible and sexist, it's also neglecting a growing segment of potential customers. I do realize that men's ball is still bigger business than women's ball, but that will never change as long as sports news organizations such as yours cling to a 1960s idea of what is worth writing about.
A dissatisfied, long time Times reader"
Yesterday the two schools met in the Virgin Islands. Since this spring, State has lost tanklike center Kelli Roehrig to graduation, and do-everything point guard Kristin Haynie to the WNBA. Tennessee, on the other hand, has seen several posts return from injury, first among them superstar dunker (and shot-blocker and assist-maker and ball-handler) Candace Parker.
Parker didn't dunk, but she did almost everything else: she garnered 14 points, 9 boards, 4 assists, and 4 blocks as Tennesse turned the rematch into a blowout.
Lindsay Bowen had a fine, scrappy game (19 on 7-12) for the Spartans, but (as in the national title game last year) it didn't matter, as MSU's post game-- consisting almost entirely of Liz Shimek-- went nowhere: again and again the 6'1" Shimek found herself double-teamed or out of position on the way to getting her shot blocked. Tennessee had just too many long, tall, experienced posts: with Roehrig gone, MSU had none.
(Weirdly, State outrebounded the Lady Vols-- though Tennessee made so many shots that it didn't much matter who picked up the ones they missed.)
Lady Vol fans celebrate Parker's breakout, along with new composure from three-point ace Shanna Zolman.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The Other Huskies beat Utah in Seattle: the home team's defense stifled Utah's shooters. Washington's Cameo Hicks pulled down 14 boards; Utah's Kim Smith shot only 7-of-16. UW coach June Daugherty: ""I tell you what, that was like burning the Thanksgiving turkey. It was darn ugly."
Texas Tech are 1-3 after losing at Ole Miss. The Red Raiders got hammered on the boards, 42-28; Erin Grant missed a buzzer-beater that would have tied it.
In perhaps the night's biggest surprise, Long Beach State took out USC, 51-46: the first half ended with a 17-17 tie. The 49ers forced USC into 21 turnovers; Jamie Hagiya had 3 assists to 4 TOs.
Slovy says Long Beach State's win is not really an upset. But anyone who saw this game might think it was.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Coach Kathy Olivier, potentially on the hot seat, was shaken. "So much of rebounding is just about heart," she said. "What annoys me is they came into our house and just wanted the ball more than we did. And that was ridiculous."
Fans, players, and parents grow impatient.
The Vol-haters among you should keep tabs on the HuskyBlog, which follows both UConn men and women.
The UConn men will take on Gonzaga and sexy-ugly porn star hippie Adam Morrison tonight in the Maui finals. Morrison dropped 43 on MSU in a triple-OT classic last night.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Clay goes out on all sorts of limbs: ASU over Stanford in the Pac-10, Michigan State and the Gophers over Ohio State in the Big Ten, Dawn Staley as the next coach at UCLA, Augustus over Cappie as top draft pick, Utah and U-Dub-- who just beat FSU-- as sleeper picks... and Western Kentucky as a resurgent midmajor.
Never heard of WKU's Hilltoppers? They've been to the Final Four three times in the NCAA era, though not since 1992: they crushed La Tech last week. Last year they took out Vandy.
Hands down, Bernadette Ngoyisa was the steal of the expansion draft in my book. The little-known native of Congo, who debuted as a 19-year-old with the Liberty in 2002, resurfaced last year with the Silver Stars and showed incredible promise in limited minutes. Her 40-minute averages of 17.7 points and 9.7 rebounds are star quality, and Ngoyisa shot 56.8% from the field. While Katie Feenstra blocked her path in San Antonio, Ngoyisa has the opportunity to be Chicago's top post player... [H]er potential is immense and largely untapped.
"You know, I owe you now," Cooper said to Smith after the game.
"I will say 50 percent or more of this was just having (Cooper) out there," said Smith. "We lost so much before she got here, we just don’t know how to win games. Tonight, even though we were down by (17), she made us believe we were still in it. She wouldn’t let us quit, because she has that will to win. It’s her. It’s all about having her on our bench."
Lauren Neaves had 27 points and 18 rebounds.
"I told our players in the locker room that we got exactly what we deserved," coach Sharp said.
Rice had lost 22 straight to Tech. In its only other game this year, it lost by almost 50 to Mississippi. "I'm just really proud of our team, because we had quite an opening-game loss over at Ole Miss," coach Greg Williams said. "We knew we were better than how we performed, but we had to come out and show it in a game situation. We had some really standout performances defensively."
Monday, November 21, 2005
Even without Jamie Broback, the Gophs ran eight players yesterday, and six of them ended up in double figures. The result: an unexpected win over Stanford.
"We found our identity today," coach Borton said. "This is a team by committee."
The game featured a display of great post play, from Stanford's Newlin and Smith, and Minnesota's Podominick, Williams, and Lacey. "I guess it was kind of a post player’s game all around," said coach TV.
Minnesota had no one who could stop Candice Wiggins, or even stay within a furlong of her in any foot race for a loose ball. But the defense-by-committee worked well enough to hold Candice to 21, and Wiggins simply didn't get enough help. At times during the second half, she was visibly upset with some of her less experienced teammates.
"A loss doesn't make or break our season at all," Wiggins said after the game.
"I told them the game would be won on the offensive end," coach Geno Auriemma said. "Good offensive players and teams can get into a rhythm where you just can't stop them. You have to get them on their heels defensively. And I thought we were unbelievably aggressive on the offensive end."
Paris was held to season lows in points and rebounds — 19 and 6. "Instead of two Oklahoma Christian girls boxing you out, there are two All-American girls boxing you out," she said. "I just was not tough enough. I have to be a lot tougher, and this game taught me that."
The Hawks scored their first win over a ranked opponent in four years by beating NC State. "It shows the hard work and dedication that this team put in, both in the summer and the preseason," coach Cindy Griffin said. "It was a great team win."
"It was amazing," Parker said. "It was a great feeling because I've waited so long to play for Tennessee."
Coach Summitt still wasn't happy with the play, especially the post play. "We can't win ballgames against the top teams we play on our schedule if we don't have a better presence inside," she said.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
"My experience at Penn State was real positive. But nothing has ever been printed as far as the positive things I've said about Rene because the media is always looking for controversy. I have nothing but respect for her. She takes care of you. She fights for you. She fights for what she believes in."
For more on what Portland appears to believe in, look here.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Tasha Humphrey had 38 on 16-28 shooting; Santa Clara's Michelle Cozad scored 34. The visiting Broncos led UGA at the half, mostly on superb outside shooting: Cozad and Kayla Huss combined shot 9-16 in treys.
Also of note: Georgia had just two bench points. (How good would Humphrey look if she had healthy help?)
'Horns coach Jody Conradt on the end of the game: ""I felt like we got into a free-throw shooting contest and we came in second."
The match may have Big XII implications, since the same UNM team that won last night in Austin lost decisively to Oklahoma a few days ago.
Or it may not. Nina Norman sat for the second half, and Tiff Jackson left after turning her ankle: when she went off the court, the Longhorns led by 11.
UNM's student paper articulates a season preview: Lobo senior Abby Letz praises her coach and her team.
The score looks closer than the game often felt: UCLA's posts looked badly overmatched. The Bears pulled down eleven more boards. More than half UCLA's rebounds came from guards Quinn and Blue.
UCLA stayed in it through outside shooting. Lisa Willis had five second-half treys, at one point shooting three in a row off the same step-back move. She finished with 22-- but Sophia Young had 26, and made it look easy, too.
Friday, November 18, 2005
"For me it would be the utmost achievement of my life," she says. "Coming here and playing basketball at Florida is up there as well, and this would be achieving something in a different realm of life. It would be life-changing."
How will she balance her WNBA work with her ESPN job? "I am going to give all I have to both [the Sky and ESPN] because I want to be the best." (Thanks for clearing that up.)
Things got chippy late: BC's Brooke Queenan flattened Montgomery with a forearm. "We played a hockey school today," Geno explained. "That's what you get when you play a hockey school."
Gampel Pavilion once again failed to sell out; by the end of the game the upper deck looked pretty empty. DiMauro asks if some fans have left because UConn has (too) few white players.
Three more likely explanations for the (slight) decline in Huskymania: 1. UConn is no longer defending three consecutive national championships. 2. UConn no longer has a magical superstar whose scoring moves draw national attention. 3. UConn no longer has any in-state players.
Next up for the Huskies: Oklahoma, whose frost post Courtney Paris has flattened opponents' frontcourts out west.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
SDS was Clintonian in response.
I really put the word 'retirement' in quotes. For me, really, I needed to just step away and take some time on my own and take a break. I think you could say the thought of playing was still alive in my mind.Fans debate the ethics of SDS and Coach Cowens.
Thibault had to make the tough decision to protect Erin Phillips over Brooke. "We didn't have much choice," he said. "I wish I had another scenario that was better. We tried to make a deal with Chicago to not take her. They didn't want to do it."
The Monarchs were the best team last year, but they may have suffered the worst loss in Chelsea Newton. "Losing her is like losing one of my daughters," Coach Whiz said.
Chicago is excited about its pick-ups. "I'm not promising any championships in our first year," coach Cowens said. "But I'm promising that our players will be very competitive on the court and also be people our city can be proud of off the court."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
'Blondtroversy,' as Trey Wingo says. Can Stacey still play? Could she ever? Was she really worth the fourth overall pick? Will the Sky play her at the point? At the two? At the three? Is she a prettier Kate Starbird? If nothing else, she'll be something to talk about, and that's worth a lot to Chicago.
The suit was filed in Florida state court yesterday. Labati alleges age and gender discrimination.
"I'm damaged goods now," she said. "People that know me look at me and say, `Tell me the truth. There has to be something else why they fired you.' What coach do you know works for a company for 17 years, bleeds orange and green, and the athletic director walks into their office and says, `You're fired' after one bad season?"
After a year off, did she realize that she missed the game too much? When she found herself doing sideline reporting at the Great Outdoor Games, did she decide that ESPN work wasn't all it's cracked up to be? Or did she just want to play somewhere other than DC all along?
It sounds like the Sky will treat her as a cornerstone of the franchise.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Star-Tribune, via Geralyn, reports that pre-season All Big 10 selection Jamie Broback, will return to the gophers next week. She'll be supporting her team mates in street clothes this weekend.
I will be there in my "33" jersey though.
"I felt like I've been different the first couple of games, just because I'm really looking to score," Strother said. "With (Diana Taurasi) here and some of the past players, it was kind of like that was really where the offense was. I would look to score, obviously, and be aggressive. But it's different when you have a scoring mentality."
In less happy news, only 9,285 fans showed up. It was the first time UConn has failed to sell out a game at Gampel since 1997.
“I think they're going to be fun to watch,” Geno said. “But if people are going to compare them to past teams, they're going to be disappointed.”
Monday, November 14, 2005
Reflecting coaches' growing frustration with the RPI, the WBCA recently announced that it would "no longer generate the RPI" and that it had "solicited the NCAA to make their RPI public." Later this year, NCAA will apparently do just that — but that's unofficial, it might be that only the men's Committee will disclose.
I like the idea of more transparency. If the Committee wants to rely on the RPI, then it should make it public and defend it in the open. If the RPI can't be defended in the light of day, then it shouldn't be used.
Last year I outlined a few complaints about the RPI. The 25-50-25 weighting system has some quirks. Among other things, it produces a strange mathematical inversion in the Strength of Schedule calculations. Last year that meant, for example, that beating Eastern Michigan was worth about as much to your RPI as beating UConn.
So what would the RPI look like if we used a different weighting system? What would your RPI be if it were 33-33-33 weighted rather than 25-50-25 weighted?
At the very top, there would be almost no difference. But once you get into bubble territory, you start to see some significant moves. Here are a few 2004-05 rankings under the alternate 33-33-33 RPI system, with the actual 25-50-25 RPIs in parentheses. (Thanks to Jerry Palm for providing the underlying data to make the calculations possible.)
22. UWGB (37)
26. Gonzaga (48)
27. Virginia (15)
31. Delaware (41)
32. Penn State (20)
37. Chattanooga (56)
41. Virginia Tech (30)
50. Liberty (67)
54. Eastern Kentucky (64)
55. Auburn (38)
Under the alternate system in the relevant range, small conferences did substantially better and big conferences did substantially worse. Some other possible systems — such 25-37-37 and 30-30-40 — have similar but generally less drastic changes.
It's tempting to conclude that the current 25-50-25 system has a built-in big conference bias. But stated unconditionally, that's not quite right. Some other system — such as 20-60-20 — would make the bigs look even better. Relative to the 20-60-20 system, the current system has a built-in small conference bias.
So what weighting should the RPI use?
In the abstract, there's no non-arbitrary way to answer that question. In the abstract, there's no (neutral, behind-the-veil) reason why 33-33-33 is better or worse than 25-50-25 — or, for that matter, 10-10-90 or 40-5-55.
But science could shed light. You could determine which weighting system has the greatest predictive success. It wouldn't be easy to study, and no system would be perfect or even close to it. But some systems might be better than others.
If some math PhD student can devise a better system, the Committee should switch. If nothing else, the Committee should at least be aware of these quirks and relative biases when it uses the RPI to make selections.
The freshman post had 20 rebounds and 19 points in 26 minutes yesterday. Says Clay Horning: "Courtney Paris is going to be really, really good." Says one fan: "Courtney is a monster. An absolute monster."
OU student fans are already coming out to see her.
In the first contest, Baylor overcame a huge deficit to beat Georgia. The Bears won the second half 47-21. “Don't ever turn that TV off when you're watching us play,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said.
Sophia Young picked up where she left off last year. She had 30 points and 14 rebounds. Even when Tasha Humphrey was guarding her, Young scored at will.
"Sophia is just an athlete," KMR said. "How many 6-foot-1 athletes do you see that can take you off the dribble in there, stop and shoot it off a dime? She's special."
The second game featured another 30-point performance from another member of the Big Four. Seimone Augustus started a little cold, but the shots started falling in the second half when they needed to, and she finished with 32 and 13. LSU beat the Red Raiders.
"Texas Tech, their fans are the best that we've faced and probably the best we're going to face this year, so hats off to them," Augustus said. "It was great for us to face this type of adversity early and get it under our belts. I think we stepped up to the challenge."
"We played a great basketball team today," Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp said. "There is no question that is one of the best teams in the country. They have so many weapons. Seimone really played well. She came back in the second half and made some big plays."
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Why can't DC-area teams go deep in the postseason? Maryland coach Brenda Frese says they might lack the swagger: "We're still really, really young."
GW coach Joe McKeown blames the system: "Why can't [GW] win in the NCAA tournament past the second round? Try playing at Connecticut every year."
All these teams might contend for a national title-- but among injuries, transfers and graduation, all have lost at least one important player; Georgia appears to have lost about four.
UConn's season starts tonight. So, apparently, does Renee Montgomery, the frosh who may solve Geno's mystery at point guard.
Geno himself counsels optimism: "When we look really good, we look a lot better than any time last year. That's a good sign. Last year, when we looked the best we could look, we hadn't reached the same level that we're at now."
Friday, November 11, 2005
Why is the media covering an athlete's personal/sex life? Aren't we all just getting sucked into a corporate marketing campaign? Should we be celebrating Swoopes's courage, or criticizing her for sleeping with a coach?
Duke coach Gail Goestenkors on Currie's decision: ""It made her teammates feel so good that she was committed to them, to the program, to our common goal."
Cappie on her own decision: "I want to prove not just to everybody else, but to myself, I am the best player in the country. We haven't really reached that national prominence yet like Seimone Augustus."
Seimone has been working on her three-point shot; her coach at LSU has been dealing with bigger problems-- during and after Hurricane Katrina, FEMA turned LSU's locker room into a triage space.
Coach Chatman: "Any time you heard helicopters land, you knew something was happening. Babies were being born over there. There were people dying...I'm glad I coach, because so much of coaching is dealing with things head-on. You want to lay down and take a nap, but you can't."
Both Nina Norman and Tiff Jackson sat out the game. Texas coach Conradt: "We are thinking long-term in injuries. This is not the time of the year when you want to push things."
The frosh-heavy 'Horns pulled down nearly double the Jaguars' rebounds, but made just 6 of 17 free throws: can you say "nerves"?
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Jennifer Harris deserves enormous credit for standing up not only for her own rights and dignity, but also for that of the many other players who, we believe, have experienced similar discrimination by Coach Portland over the past nearly thirty years...
Penn State has assured us that Coach Portland speaks for herself, not the University, and that the University is committed to investigating Ms. Harris' allegations. We are confident that the truth will emerge and look forward to working with Penn State to ensure that it does.
One day after women's basketball coach Rene Portland replied to a Collegian reporter who asked her if allegations against her were disrupting practice,
Anything I say about that, I've already said. My job is to coach this team, and that's my intention. I've already said what I'm going to say. You can go down any road you want. I made a statement.She issued a statement that denied allegations of racial discrimination that Jen Harris' attorneys are filing in a complaint with the state HRC.
The dismissal of the former player raising these allegations was, and still is, a basketball decision and the result of my responsibility to do what is best for this team. Nothing else. My career has been built on treating all Lady Lion players with respect. I will continue to do so.
Earlier this year, Jennifer Harris, a former member of the Penn State women's basketball team, accused the Lady Lions coach Rene Portland of dismissing her from the team because of anti-gay discrimination. Portland has long been rumored to use an anti-lesbian policy as a recruiting device to soothe worried parents and attract homophobic student athletes.
The early reports are vague but suggest something to do with academics. In Broback's absence, sophomore posts Tasha Williams and Lauren Lacey combined for 32 points and 23 rebounds in an exhibition game last night.
The Charlotte Observer answers ten questions about women's college basketball, from 'Who are the national championship contenders?' to 'Who needs some love?'
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Last year was real tough. I looked at some film from the previous year to last year. I thought I was playing at 70-to-80 percent when I came back, but when I looked at the film from last year I was at about 50 percent... I'm real happy with the progress I'm making now. I'm going back to the basics, and I'm getting my mobility and strength back.The Free Press reports that instead of playing overseas with the rest of her teammates, Cash stayed in Detroit to rehab with Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander. Coach Bill Laimbeer said that the original plan was for Cash to play overseas to see game action, but that the team would sit down with her in the new year to see where she needs to be.
Laimbeer commented later that the Shock were looking forward to the play next season of center Ruth Riley, so the Shock will most likely protect Riley, Smith, All-Stars Deanna Nolan, Swin Cash, and Cheryl Ford, and promising young post player Kara Braxton.
The league does not allow us to divulge the names of protected players. I can say that we will be coring Katie Smith. So having figured that out, the rest of the protected players should be very easy to assume.
Fans discuss who the Chicago Sky should select from Detroit's roster.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
So what about the fact that the swoopes story does basically suggest orientation is pliable? "It doesn't matter what gender the person is, when you love them, you love them," versus, "I can't help it, I'm only attracted to men/women"? What is the party line on this at the moment?There is a standard, party-line anti-gay argument that goes something like this:
Premise: Orientation is not biologically (or otherwise) determined.
Conclusion: Therefore, (a) it is acceptable to discriminate against gay people in various ways, and (b) we should try to prevent children from becoming gay, and (c) we should try to help gay people convert.
Many proponents of gay equality seek to rebut this argument by denying the premise. I'm more inclined to say: even if the premise is true, the conclusion simply doesn't follow. Freed from fear of adverse political consequences, we might then be able to examine a whole variety of fascinating issues around orientation.
To what extent is orientation binary? To what extent is it fluid (and is it more so for women than men)? To what extent are the very concepts of heterosexuality and homosexuality socially constructed? To what extent is orientation constituted and reconstituted by performative utterances and expressive actions?
I think it's ok to leave the party lines behind. If Swoopes's candor about her own experience opens the door to a new debate, that's just fine.
What took them so long? Well, the WBHOF is in Knoxville... in fact, though, the membership criteria make 2005 Geno's first year of eligibility: inductees must have been head coaches for at least 20 years.
Why does the Courant call it the "College Hall of Fame"? Perhaps because very few WNBA players are both realistic candidates, and eligible: players must be "retired from their highest level of play for at least five years." Read the year-by-year membership lists, or nominate Kim Perrot, here. Check out the WBHOF's women's hoops timeline, too.
(Via Stever, who caught it first.)
When she started (she says) she attracted lots of attention: "I was just hoping that as the years go, my ability to referee would stand out more than my just being a woman, because that's what's most important to me, to know players just respect me to do my job."
Tim Duncan now calls her "a solid official"; this season she may work her first NBA playoff games.
Such a well known and admired star who is also gay may help bring more acceptance of homosexuality in professional sports...
Hopefully, an openly gay female basketball superstar will pave the way for other athletes to come out. I know there will always be narrow-minded ignorant people out there who will never accept any gay person, but I like to think that there will soon be a time when players never feel the need to hide their sexuality or fear harassment and isolation for being gay.
Guerra discusses recent articles from Bloomberg.com's Scott Soshnick, the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy, and the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins, closing with an argument posed by Yvette Christofilis, director of a White Plains gay and lesbian community center interviewed in the Journal News by Ian O'Connor.
By and large, the media seems to agree that professional male sports is a long way from acceptance of homosexuality--but many writers are also taking players and coaches to task for it.
The change, Guerra contends, needs to come first from professional sports organizations holding fast to the 'Don't ask, don't tell' mantra. "The fans will follow suit".
It's not the fans the gay player is probably worried about. If it was just the fans, more men and women would be coming out. I think it's the locker room, the organizations, the leaderships and the advertisers. I think most fans would applaud it.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Having gone from straight to gay, I suspect she would understand the story of someone who has gone from gay to straight.Oooh... that is just delicious. I love it when bad writers include subconscious critiques of their own work. It saves me the time.
From the other side, Shauna Swartz takes a damning look at the media coverage of the Swoopes story.
The major media coverage of the news has, for the most part, minimized, exaggerated and/or trivialized the issue of what it means to be a lesbian athlete who isn’t closeted.Swoopes is on the cover of this week's Advocate, with a feature story titled: "She is our champion."
UPDATE: Mr. Throckmorton has revised the grammatically unfortunate sentence above to remove all homo-fabulousness.
And in this morning's column, she wonders whether parity means we are entering a dynasty-free era. Says PUmatty in response: "Disregarding that no one can even seem to agree on what parity is, I will believe in parity when I see it."
In totally unrelated news, Tennessee pounded a hapless exhibition team over the weekend. Candace Parker is all that and a bag of chips.
The New York Times' Frank Litsky writes about Cappie Pondexter and Charde Houston - two Big East players he calls 'perhaps the two most gifted women's basketball players in the Big East, which is perhaps the strongest conference in the nation'.
Cappie on Cappie:
She comes with a lot of responsibility. She's unselfish. She has the will to win. She's very coachable. But sometimes she plays down to the level of competition. If she plays the way she can, her team could win the national championship
Sara's recently deceased grandma was interviewed for the book. She played half-court ball for New Richland in the 20s, and lived the rest of her life as a rabid (and notorious) basketball fan.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
It should probably go without saying that looking to Around the Horn or Jim Rome for a serious discussion on sports and sexuality is like reading Ann Coulter for a history of Islam. But tragically, many writers and voices that should be celebrating this moment are choosing to be little more than a fun-house reflection of the mainstream sports blather, concentrating on what Swoopes is not: a man.
Inaugural nominees: Paul Pierce, Jean Van de Velde, and Fisher DeBerry.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I thought the article was, once again, the same tired screed, albeit unknowingly written as a screed, by a man who knows nothing about the issues. He may think he does, he may be sympathetic to other issues pertaining to girls bball, but he doesn't know about gay teenagers, especially girls. If there is a perceived "problem" then there should be adult leadership around the issue. Every coach should deal with "issues" that may come up during the season AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON. That's a no brainer. If some gay "issues" caused his team to suffer, then it is his responsiblity. I have seen many more teams suffer from morale issues because of fathers yelling at games and beating up on their spouses than I have of young girls who are just approaching consciousness "causing" low team morale.Meanwhile, at the Full Court board, a dad expresses renewed concerns about "lesbianism." Says another:
Our AAU team purchased over 100 tickets to WNBA games last season. The lesbian presence at the games was already becoming a problem for the parents, but with the Swoopes thing now that is the last straw and we will not be returning next season.Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
I am sure many school and AAU teams across the country are facing the same dillema, so multiply the loss of our 100+ tickets x 1000, and one wonders if the teetering WNBA can withstand the loss of hundreds of thousands of ticket sales.
Meanwhile, the ESPN board just gets weird.
Earlier this week, LGBT students at Penn State urged the student senate to pass legislation covering discrimination. "It takes specific cases to pass legislation; maybe we do have to single someone out," senator Keith Crouse said.
Some students also plan to protest the Renaissance Scholarship Fund's dinner tonight, where Rene will be honored as Renaissance Person of the Year.
The Philly Inquirer compares Swoopes to tennis star Amelie Mauresmo.
And in case you missed it, check out Glenn Nelson's Swoopes article including his discussion of team dynamics surrounding this issue.
I once had an openly gay player on one of the teams that I coached. Though she shared the fact of her sexual preference with her teammates, ignorance and mistrust prevailed. Being a teenager, she didn't understand boundaries, but neither did her teammates. Whenever she shined on a teammate, some of the others told that player she was being "hit on." An underlying gossip gripped the team and the player retreated into isolation. She began seeking company from players on other teams and this, of course, was interpreted by some of her teammates as aloofness. My team's chemistry suffered greatly.Also today, an interview with Swoopes at PlanetOut. Swoopes discusses the league's difficult position with respect to gay issues, and she says that she personally never experienced any homophobia within the league.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Celtics captain Paul Pierce says, only half-jokingly, that he wouldn't want to guard a gay player in the NBA.
On Saturday, NY Daily News columnist Filip Bondy chided the NBA, the WNBA, and David Stern for their institutionalized fear of the gay issue.
So what has the official reaction been from Secaucus?
On dotcom's main page, two links to external Swoopes stories. One reader noticed that on the day of Sheryl's announcement, her profile disappeared from the "Our Voices" feature box at the bottom right of the page.
At the offseason blog, however, Matt Wurst collected a whole bunch of media stories and praised Swoopes for transcending her sport.